04/16/2009 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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Latest rescue story a vivid reminder of ongoing struggle

Reading the April 10 article "Slaughter: Don't ask, don't tell" brought home that this is a topic that many would probably like have remain in the shadows.

In 1997, Daily Racing Form ran an article about the demise of the champion Exceller, and the resulting outrage became the impetus to form The Exceller Fund, dedicated to providing funding for the purchase, care, retirement, and adoption of Thoroughbreds.

I am proud to be a part of this organization. In August of 2008, I stepped down as president after having that position for more than five years. I welcomed Gary Contessa as the new president and Nicole R. Smith as executive director. Please note that both are volunteer positions, with no salary. In fact, a board position often means digging out of one's own pocket to fund administrative expenses.

I am very proud to know that Mr. Contessa is supporting the efforts for the mares recently rescued from a New York kill pen, as told in the April 10 article. When some of our volunteers discovered this situation, they worked tirelessly with others to ensure the safety and welfare of the remaining horses.

Our ability to help these horses is hindered only by the limited funding we have, not only to help out in situations such as this, but also to continue caring for the adoptable horses and retirees in our program. Actually, the retirees are available for adoption, but they are not likely candidates because of their age and/or physical limitations caused by injuries sustained on the racetrack.

It is my sincere hope that the racing industry can work toward building the funding and infrastructure to ensure that these magnificent Thoroughbreds can be provided a future beyond the finish line.

Bonnie Mizrahi - Granada Hills, Calif.

Choice of rider for Derby seems less than sweet

I just read in the April 12 Santa Anita notes ("Square Eddie to prep for Derby in Lexington") that the connections of Chocolate Candy have chosen Mike Smith to ride their horse in the Kentucky Derby. No disrespect to Smith - he is a fine rider - but I guess the California Derby and El Camino Real Derby weren't big enough races for Chocolate Candy's people.

With that pair of victories, Russell Baze is 2 for 2 on the horse, and now they are going to put someone on who has never ridden him before. There is something wrong with this picture. That's just my opinion.

Bill Barisoff - Lakewood, Calif.